Operation ‘Sun’ Rise
The booklet Operation ‘Sun’ Rise was produced and distributed to all Sun employees in the early 1950s. It contained an overview of the firm’s history, described the reasons why a major expansion of the factory was now necessary, and explained what the project would entail and how the presses would be able to continue to churn out millions of copies of magazines while construction progressed. Senior Sun people wrote the sections of the booklet. Each contributor’s name appears at the end of his section.
Sun employee and avid photographer R.L. (Les) Hodge took a series of vivid pictures during the excavations for the new Process Block and during its construction. There is a link to his photo essay on the Facts and Opinions page.
The “Sun” is a quality organization throughout. We must maintain that tradition in all departments in our plant. Whether your job is that of apprentice or fully fledged craftsman, whether you are a general worker or a manager, please remember — One Quality Always — and that the Best!
SHORT HISTORY OF THE SUN
bringing us up to the need for
Those of us who can remember the difficulties associated with the photogravure process, to say nothing of the shortcomings of the photogravure printing machinery in 1920 (just after World War I), would have no hesitation in saying that anyone intimately connected with the business would have been a most courageous person indeed to have predicted the popularity, the development and the engineering achievement which have taken place over these relatively few years.
In 1919-20 most of the “stock-in-trade” of the various associated companies was installed in Whippendell Road, Watford, and from this has grown the present formidable photogravure department—the largest in the world! This position has been reached through the loyal co-operation of the technical staff and the skill which has been acquired by our members over these difficult but progressive years. It will be appreciated that the handling of the various operations, so abnormally exacting in the process department, without any mechanical aid or atmospheric control, made life a little difficult in the early days of photogravure, but it was never without interest.
The printing machinery was crude in the extreme, although the original principle of the machine still remains. Most of the machines had sheet deliveries or re-reelers, both of which created problems and entailed much hand labour. The whole process was in its infancy and its commercial value for the future had not as yet been realized.
The great awakening came when the publishers saw for the first time the effect of photogravure illustrations in specially printed supplements when compared with the rest of the magazine printed by letterpress rotary methods. An almost overwhelming demand was made on the very few firms who specialized in, and could undertake, this new kind of work.
It soon became evident that something would have to be done to mechanize the process, not only to make for greater uniformity, but to enable it to compete with other long-established methods. Much was done in our small way to make things a little easier, and it certainly enabled our schedules to become competitive, but it all took up a lot of time. Cylinders were a serious problem. Those which were in use were lying all over the floor and, apart from the area which they took up, a lot of damage ensued. Our present cylinder store was the outcome of considerable thought and sheer necessity.
Our first efforts to print pictorial supplements with sheet delivery soon made it fundamentally clear that a precision type of delivery of some sort, whether folded or in sheets, was essential, because our sheet deliveries were so variable that it was almost impossible to handle the work, even if each sheet was pinned to get some semblance of accuracy. We also realized the almost infinite variety of sizes which may be obtained from letterpress flat-bed printing machines and which somehow must be a link to be incorporated into the delivery end of the photogravure machine. Such reasoning eventually brought into being the all-size folder. All these developments were accomplished and opened up a new era for periodicals. New bays were built to house the new machines. Small additional rooms were built to handle the ever-increasing process work, but despite this progress there was no real indication that finality had been reached regarding cylinder sizes.
It was not until 1938 that a decision was made to adopt the page depth of 14 inches, and the Vomag machines were ordered to produce 60-page periodicals two-set, thus establishing the 70-in, web. On these two machines there were only six photogravure unitson each. Further units were added later.
Up to this date our machine plant had been designed to accommodate 25-in., 40-in. or 50-in. cylinders, and this 70-in. cylinder for a 14-in. deep page presented a problem for expansion. The 50- in. machines had to be widened to take 56-in. webs; the 25-in. had to be adjusted to take 30-in. webs, and the 70-in. cylinders were difficult to get through the process department, which had never been designed for them.
World War II put a brake on our development, but not on the reading public. There was a greater demand for periodicals, and since the war one is only too familiar with the almost fantastic demand for the women’s magazines. These huge circulations became a very valuable advertising media, which naturally attracted full colour advertisements. To meet this demand much larger printing machines were contemplated, four cylinders being required where one was sufficient before the war.
In 1939 it became quite evident that the whole of the process department would have to be replanned, and a scheme for creating an entirely new building at the east of our present factory was agreed in principle, but we certainly did not anticipate that the second World War would be responsible for so many restrictions, heedless delays and the extraordinary difficulty there has been to obtain the necessary permits before this large east-end extension could be started.
Since the war, with the building of the 13-unit 70-in. presses, we have been very perplexed to know just how to house these giant machines to the best advantage. It was apparent that to continue to place one machine in a separate weaver was wasteful. Indeed, it could only be accomplished by scrapping our much-needed jobbing machines, and we were unable to contemplate such a drastic step.
There was no land available on the Whippendell Road side of the railway and, all things considered, it was agreed that the most sensible way for future development was to increase the height in the machine room and excavate the basement to enable the large presses to be installed at right angles to the weavers. There were no illusions among the directors that this decision meant congestion, and perhaps some frustration on the part of those who are always mindful of quality, which is essential for the welfare of the company.
The new layout will mean that the heavy cylinders will not have to travel as far as they do now and the enormous number of paper reels will be concentrated adjacent to the reel store, all of which makes for increased efficiency.
There will be many difficulties to be overcome, and there will be frayed tempers, but with a little thought, some forbearance, and a modicum of anticipation on the part of our employees who will be working in this transient period, we are confident we shall win through without serious loss. C.F.C. [Charles F. Cook]
THE GRAVURE PLANT AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
Rotary photogravure colour printing, pioneered in these works, has led to the development of a new industry, requiring large, expensive and complex plant vastly different from the machines which paved the way for this impressive evolution.
Rational development was put out of gear by the war years, and the return of peace brought a heavy and instant demand for more and more colour printing, which has had to be met by expedient and artifice.
Care and thought must, however, be given to the future, and from the legacy of rapid development and wartime restrictions we have to create a factory which will facilitate efficiency of production, efficiency in its widest sense, both of plant and personnel. To do this, a surgical operation is necessary, quickly.
The printing logically divides into two classes of work, periodical printing and the remainder, including letterpress, which may be termed jobbing printing, both classes being essential, important and complementary.
Periodical machines have now reached a stage where their installation requires a planned site, in a building designed to accommodate them, giving height and space necessary for good working conditions, and giving good alignment and location for the heavy flow of work and materials.
A central arterial road is planned through the works right from the new east-end process extension, and a periodical machine room along the lines indicated above will be formed between the central road and the railway, by lifting up the roof over this area to give a clear height of about 28 feet. In this room all our large periodical machines will ultimately be installed, at right angles to the railway, all with direct access to the main road, and with folders aligned towards the warehouse in case any mechanized system of product handling proves possible in the future.
The jobbing section of the gravure machines requires to be extremely versatile, and the ultimate requirements in a changing trade cannot be predicted in detail.
There must be some plan, however, and some general trends can be seen. Both 58-in. and 30- in. machines play their part in production, and these machines will be laid out to give the greatest flexibility whilst taking the best advantage of existing buildings. The arrangement will give facilities for running several of the machines either independently or in combination, whilst the layout of one row of 58-in. machines in one bay and two rows of the smaller 30-in. machines in another bay will give the maximum of space and light.
This section will be located on the opposite side of the main road to the periodical machines, and adjacent to the letterpress section, products from both sections having much in common.
When the periodical presses are in their final location, the present Vomag machine room will be cleared and opened up into the warehouse. This part of the warehouse will be directly opposite the jobbing printing, whilst the existing main warehouse will be in line with the periodical presses.
To carry out this general plan involves the movement or every gravure machine in turn, the excavation of basement areas at present solid, new floors and steelwork to carry the machines, and the above-mentioned roof-raising operation, part of this being carried out over existing roofs and machines.
Together with the east extension these are ambitious plans, and the building operations are described elsewhere in this booklet. We shall all be involved in this job, many problems will arise, but none that we cannot jointly overcome, whilst I am sure the road will be worth travelling.
There is another aspect in which we are all interested, the machines themselves. We have two first-class machines on order from Goss, the units being of advanced and proved design.
It is intended to make certain changes and improvements to our existing 77-in. units as they are moved to their new sites. Subject to satisfactory performance of trial sets now being designed, the printing cylinders will be altered to conform to a Goss standard. This will enable the use of a push-on roller bearing, and obviate the taper sleeves and screwing-up at present necessary. It is also intended to effect enclosure of the ink ducts.
Further, when the units are moved, it is intended to rearrange them into such a pattern that they all run with back doctors.
The 56-in. and 30-in. machines will obviously receive some attention when they are being moved. There is a limit to what can be done with the older plant, and it is in many respects disappointing to have to move and modify old machines. First things first, however, and with present-day high costs of machines and buildings the foregoing programme will obviously tax our efforts and resources, and some of the jobbing plant will have to await its turn for replacement. Even so, though it may be a disappointment, it is by no means a matter for despair. Much of the plant is very serviceable and should give a good account of itself if a few improvements can be effected.
The overall plan envisages a marshalling area for machine products adjacent to trimming and despatch, and a rubber roller store outside the boundary of the machines, whilst probably, as a last move, we shall have to ask the warehouse to let us have our K & B machine back.
It is also necessary to take account of the solvent recovery plant and equipment. Solvent is taxed like petrol and is now an expensive commodity, and the price is such that efficient collection and recovery can no longer be ignored, whilst an improvement in this direction must mean an improvement in the atmosphere and conditions around the machines.
New machines can be hooded fairly efficiently, but the problem is not so easy with existing, older machines, and thought has to be given to the improvement of these, striking a balance between cost, efficiency and future life of the machine.
An experiment in this direction has recently been carried out on No. 15 machine, where it is hoped improved collection efficiency will be obtained combined with better access for the printer around the units, and more light and cleaner conditions over the machine. D.S.B. [Donald S. Berry]
RAISING THE MAIN ROOF, AND THE FORMATION OF BASEMENTS
The above description covers an extremely complicated piece of construction over an area of approximately 14,500 square feet, which includes a very considerable portion of the existing main machine room.
One of the main problems will be to maintain in full production a number of existing presses within the area during the progress of the building operations which are briefly as follows:—
The new high roof will be supported on No. 27 lattice stanchions extending from the basement level to a height of 28 ft. 6 in. above the main factory floor level—the stanchions being so constructed as to allow free passage of the existing roof gutters which will remain in position serving the old roof until the new roof is completed and watertight. In order to cause the minimum of interference with the business of the factory these stanchions will be erected “Meccano” fashion in short lengths.
Another interesting point regarding these stanchions is that each one has been designed to act independently similar to a pylon and, owing to the height of the new printing hall above the surrounding existing buildings, capable of withstanding the full wind load of a maximum storm.
The new gravure units have an approximate weight of 12 tons each and the folders 25 tons, all of which has to be supported on a new structural steel framework sufficiently rigid to withstand impact and vibration stresses.
The building work will progress in six distinct operations in accordance with the figure sequence shown on the plan, and in the cases where existing presses must he kept in production the existing roofs will remain in position until the new roofs are complete, when it will be necessary to stop the presses for a short time to enable the old roofs to be demolished.
The works will commence with the handing over of Section I (shown on plan) to the builder, and this area will be securely partitioned off from floor to underside of roof with dust and weatherproof screens, the ground floor will then be demolished and the existing roof removed.
The new lattice stanchions will then be erected to Sections 1 and 2, and a new roof will be erected over Section 2 at the high level, leaving the old in position, and then the new roof will be continued over Section 1, thus completing the two sections before proceeding with the others which will be dealt with in the sequence of Nos. 3 and 4, and Nos. 5 and 6.
The general effect is clearly illustrated by the artist’s impression which shows one of the new machine bays completed with the new high roof in position before the removal of the existing low-level roof.
Approximately half of the existing machine floor area covered by the roof raising will be demolished and replaced at the same level as the old one, by a new machine floor designed to carry the new presses with corresponding paper reel basements under.
The target date for completion of these works is 1st June, 1955.
It will be clearly seen and appreciated from the foregoing sketch-description, that owing to the difficult nature of the operation with its close proximity to the printing and warehouse personnel, its success will to a large measure depend upon the whole-hearted co-operation of all concerned, and the architects and builders would welcome all possible help and assistance from the management and personnel in bringing this somewhat unusual job to a happy conclusion. G.W.K. [George W. Knight]
EAST END EXTENSION
The present Gravure Process Department occupies approximately 40,000 sq. ft. made up of a number of comparatively small rooms, so that the prospect of 100,000 sq. ft. which the new extension offers is very encouraging. Not only is the present area inadequate, but it does not permit of the best means of production, and as it cannot be altered or rearranged the east-end extension has been planned to house the whole department. A great deal of thought has been given to planning the new building with special regard to the flow of work, and to get the departments located in relation to each other in the best way possible.
Copper depositing, chromium facing and cylinder polishing will occupy the single-storey area adjoining the railway boundary. Apart from the special attention to the most up-to-date equipment for this work, a great deal of thought has been given to achieving a clean layout. It is work which inevitably has to have a heavy electricity supply, and this will be brought in through underground ducts to avoid an unsightly number of pipes and busbars being visible in the room. The big problem of fume extraction has been tackled and the necessary trunking will be underground in the ducts already mentioned. These ducts will be large enough to enable maintenance work to be carried out in them; an adequate ventilation system will supply washed and filtered air to the departments concerned.
Adjoining the depositing section on the north side will be the multi-storey building which will extend from the present factory at the same floor levels.
On the ground floor will be the Carbon Printing, Etching and Engraving Departments, so confining the actual handling of cylinders to this floor. The carbon room will be at the extreme east end of the building and the etching room adjoining. These two sections, owing to the nature of the work, require special conditions of temperature and humidity, and an air-conditioning plant capable of providing these conditions will be installed. This is an impressive plant which will keep uniform conditions in these rooms on the cold and frosty days of winter as well as in the hot and humid summer. The room where the carbon tissue is to be sensitized will have tiled floors and walls to enable them to be washed down easily. Where the tissue is printed the flooring will be of a suitable nature to reduce dust. The cylinders will be parked in the air-conditioned area and after cleaning will be ready for working on. The laying and developing equipment will be planned to suit the work flow and the necessary space allotted for drying and checking.
As mentioned previously, the etching room is in the critically air-conditioned area and will have good lighting so necessary for this work. The etching bays will be arranged on two sides of the room, providing the remoteness and freedom from interruptions which will be an asset to the etchers. Adequate facilities will be provided for protective clothing and washing; there will be suitable storage space for the acid solutions.
When the cylinders are ready for proofing they will be parked alongside the main gangway, which continues through to the proofing room in the present factory.
After proofing, the cylinder will be brought back to the engraving room, which will occupy the area between the etching room and the present factory. Special attention will be given to providing suitable lighting for this work and a small area of daylight can be utilized when available. Benches will have space for working equipment and originals. Light frames will be added for viewing colour transparencies.
The street level is reached by a stairway at the west end going up to the entrance hall. From the entrance hall another flight of stairs will lead to the first floor, on which will be the studio, retouching and planning rooms. The layout of this floor will be the colour retouching room at the east end with the studio adjoining, then the planning room and at the west end the mono retouching room. The latter will be what is now the gravure proofing room, which, after the necessary alterations, should make an excellent room, utilizing the daylight available, especially for the negative work. Ample benches will be available for sorting work and originals.
For the positive work the desks will allow plenty of working space with provision for the originals. Sinks and viewing tables will be suitably placed with easy access.
The planning room is intended to have ample light tables with sufficient bench space adjacent to accommodate the work. The rinco planning will occupy an area which will have daylight available, and adequate racking space will be allowed for this work.
The glass cleaning and layout storage will be sited at one end of the planning room and a lift is to be installed to convey to the carbon room below the planned work.
The studio is planned to have the cameras in close proximity to the darkrooms, and in the latter provision will be made to supply hot as well as cold water. Special attention will be given to providing adequate sinks, matching frames and benches. The colour positives, masks and correctors, will be made in rooms directly adjacent to the colour retouching rooms, so that close contact can be maintained between the operators and retouchers.
The colour retouching room will be planned to have the desks in groups and near to the necessary sinks, benches and checking instruments. The cold cathode lighting, which has proved so satisfactory for colour matching, will be installed throughout.
As there will not be any cylinders or heavy trucks on this level, consideration can be given to foot comfort when deciding on the type of floor material. Washing facilities will be available in each room, as this is thought to be most convenient as well as hygienic.
Locker accommodation on the first floor will be on one side of the main corridor, which is on the north side of the building. On the ground floor, locker space will be provided in the carbon room and adjacent to the engraving room, whilst the depositing staff will have accommodation in the vicinity of their department.
Briefly, this is the general approach to the extension at this stage and more details will be given as the building develops.
These new buildings consist of:
(a) Two main floors, being the first part of a multi-storey building running parallel to Whippendell Road, comprising about 70,000 square feet of floor area lined up with the existing factory levels.
(b) A one-storey electro-plating and cylinder treatment department between the new multi-storey building described above and the railway track along the south boundary, comprising about 35,000 square feet of floor area lined up with the multi-storey floor level.
(c) An access tunnel running under the railway track serving the ground on the south side of the existing premises.
A great deal of study has been given to the general waste and surface water drainage serving both the multi-storey and one-storey buildings. Surface, soil and waste drains have been kept separate within the buildings and are collected under the floor of the tunnel passing to the south side of the railway, turning in a westerly direction and discharging to the main drainage in the Ascot Road—at one point these drains are 21 in. diameter and running at 18 ft. below the ground level.
In order to maintain the levels dictated by the main works, it will be necessary to excavate some 35,000 tons of ballast and chalk and to erect reinforced concrete retaining walls supporting the railway and the surrounding service roads and buildings.
The general construction of the multi-storey building will be a combination of structural steel and reinforced concrete with brick cladding to the external elevations above the general ground levels.
The reinforced concrete floors will be supported on square framed lattice girders some 3 ft. 6 in. deep which will provide a sealed duct over the whole ceiling area housing large quantities of ventilation ducts, cables, conduits, drainage, water, gas, air and electric services, leaving a clean and uninterrupted ceiling free from dust.
The ground floor will have a nett ceiling height of 16 ft. and the first floor a nett height of 12 ft., the former housing the Sensitizing, Carbon Laying, Etching and Revision Rooms., and the latter the Colour Retouching Studios and Mono Retouching Rooms.
The whole building will be air-conditioned throughout with special humidity conditions applying to the Sensitizing, Carbon Laying, and Etching Rooms, and the system is such that a fixed standard of heating and ventilation can be maintained winter and summer.
Wherever possible a standard of floor and wall finish will be adopted which, though durable and standing up to departmental use, will present a pleasing result when finished.
The general lighting will be of the fluorescent, cold cathode or similar type giving general daylight conditions where required.
Adequate lavatory, washing and locker accommodation has been provided for both sexes.
Arrangements have also been made in the general design to accommodate two further storeys above these already described.
ONE STOREY BUILDING
The one-storey building is of an entirely different character, its shape, design and construction being dictated by the process requirements, which are the plating and treatment of printing cylinders of various sizes.
The general construction is of reinforced concrete and steel with north-light roofs with various fan chambers at roof level.
The process of both chromium and copper plating demands that careful consideration be given to the adequate supply of clean air and extraction of process fumes, and special plants will be installed to deal with these problems.
All services and ventilation trunking are housed in underground ducts and warm washed air will be fed into the building from a longitudinal duct constructed at roof level.
These special plants are designed by experts, who have to take into account the various factors such as heat generated by equipment and steam liberated into the atmosphere as well as converting the outside air conditions to those required inside. Apart from the condition of the air, the distribution has to be carefully planned to ensure complete changes of air in all areas. This is mainly achieved by baffles in the ducts and the positions of the inlet and extractor ventilators. It will be appreciated by all who have seen something of depositing that a heavy load of electricity supply has to be accommodated. Large rectifiers will have to be fitted in suitable positions to permit replacement and maintenance.
Along one side of the department will be a gallery on which will be a well-equipped laboratory and a locker room; underneath will be the necessary store rooms and office.
Electric hoists will be used for lifting the cylinders about and the layout will be designed to enable the cylinders to go direct to the Polishing Department after depositing. The present cylinder store will be in close proximity to receive the clean cylinders.
A wide gangway will go through the present factory and continue into the new building so that transportation will not be hampered by lack of space and good contact will maintained. G.W.K. [George W. Knight] W.E.H. [W.E. Hammond]
At this stage it is not possible to paint a complete picture of the Warehouse as it will be in the final form. One thing we do know, however, is that the increased potential capacity of the Process Department, when rehoused in the new east-end extension, will be reflected in greater production from the gravure printing department when the machines have been re-sited and the new large machines installed. All this will create more work for the Warehouse. The space available cannot be extended and so we have to devise ways and means of increasing efficiency within the existing space.
At the present time work does not flow through the department to the best advantage. Our parking space is distributed all over the place and, in the intervals between processes, loads move backwards and forwards, upwards and downwards, to a much greater extent than is desirable. In considering ways of eliminating this wasted travel and labour, we have to endeavour to peer into the future. Changes are constantly taking place. Work which has been sectionally bound in the Warehouse may become a complete machine-bound production. Other saddle-stitched magazines tend to grow both in number of pages and quantity. Flat-back binding attracts more and more publishers and if the demands on us for this style of binding grow we shall have to have additional equipment to enable us to cope. These are all very difficult questions, needing a great deal of thought, and we have not found the answer to all of them although some decisions have been made.
The continuous trimmers are going to be re-sited adjacent to the large magazine presses on one of the few remaining solid floor areas. This will mean the minimum amount of travel from the producing presses to the trimming machines, and the trimming machines themselves will benefit from being on solid ground. When re-sited, the machines will be fitted with feeder conveyor tracks and devices which will lift the loads to working height, all of which will assist in increasing output. We have one continuous trimmer which is not automatically fed, and it is intended to convert this when it is moved. In addition, we are in the course of erecting a Sheridan three-knife trimmer which will add to our trimming capacity.
Adjacent to the re-sited magazine presses the Warehouse will be separated from the Gravure Printing Department by a full height brick wall which will create a desirable fire break and also keep down noise.
The Management are giving close attention to the problems of creating adequate and strategically sited parking space for loads and main traffic ways to facilitate the travel of loads on the ground. At the same time, movement of work in progress by the conveyor system is being investigated.
We are sure that the present design of our platforms and our system of handling them call for considerable improvement. Trials of platforms of different design are in hand and we hope, eventually, to arrange for platforms to circulate through the Works and finish up at a central platform depot from which they will be re-issued.
If we are to remain competitive our Warehouse must be extremely efficient. We have got to keep cost down but, at the same time, we must be able to handle very large quantities of work extremely quickly, as speed is an essential feature of our class of work. These two factors can be reconciled and that is the objective of our intentions. L.G.W. [Leslie G. White]
THE FINAL PICTURE
In this little booklet various writers, each an enthusiast in his own sphere, have explained what will be happening at the Sun, the difficulties which we must meet and overcome, and the great effort necessary to turn the first large gravure factory into the best gravure factory. Now I am asked to give an impression of what it will be like.
Perhaps, before I go into much detail, it should be explained that the urgent need to modernize certain sections of the factory has been agreed by the Directors for more than seven years. Indeed, before that the first contacts to discuss our requirements had been made with the Board of Trade. Since that time the Company has been granted licences to build a substantial modern paper store and an ink factory. No trouble or expense was spared to make these important sections efficient, to make working conditions pleasant and provide equipment to reduce strain and fatigue.
During all this time the Directors have not ceased to press for permission to modernize other important sections of the factory. They have been aware of the urgent need for modifications and improvements to plant and equipment, particularly on the gravure side. Yet, with the knowledge of the formidable costs of the projected operation and a desire to do each improvement as perfectly as possible, and certainly not to waste engineering resources in doing it twice, most of these alterations have been held up until a clearer picture of the whole operation was possible.
But the time that has elapsed since our first application was made to the Board of Trade has not, we believe, been wasted. Directors, managers, engineers, designers and architects have travelled to America, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and France to examine the latest ideas on factory construction, the most modern techniques for the gravure process and machines, and new methods of air conditioning and recovery. Each has made a contribution to the present plans. We believe that not often in the history of industry have trade union representatives been brought so completely into the picture at all stages. They have made very valuable contributions on every occasion and some major features of design are a result of their co-operation. Indeed, this booklet was suggested by a chapel representative at one of the meetings.
The reader will have noticed that I am still far from getting down to brass tacks on what it will be like. The Directors have laid down that it must comprise the most efficient printing factory in this country and they have spared no effort to this end. The general outline, i.e. the main structure and traffic ways, have been decided on and contracts placed, but much of the detail remains to be settled. For instance, in the Copper and Chrome Department, although the layout of plant and the fume extraction and air conditioning have been planned, the details of plant will only be finalized after production tests are made of equipment now under construction. In the new Gravure Machine Department the arrangements for removal of the printed product have not been agreed. That the modern magazine rotary should have something better than the present delivery is evident; many ideas have been advanced by staff, management and engineers.
It is not certain that any of these are sufficiently comprehensive to ensure equipment which will efficiently handle this problem. Yet each of the suggestions has considerable merit. The Directors, therefore, have placed this whole problem in the hands of a well-known firm of paper conversion engineers. An expert from this company is now on a visit to America to examine their methods. He will then put in some weeks at our factory really to absorb our problems. He will be able to assess the value of the many suggestions which we have and, finally, his company will give its recommendations. All we can do in our preliminary plans is to provide a lay down of magazine rotaries which will give clear space for the removal of the work either above or below the press. These items give some idea of the variety of the problems involved in the overall scheme and of the difficulty of giving a very accurate picture of the future Sun factory.
However, what we plan is a process department designed for the job, with adequate head room, the most efficient air conditioning, and with the health and comfort of staff carefully considered. All work on cylinders will be on the ground floor, with adequate parking space for cylinders in each department. The departments are so arranged that work-flow, liaison, and communication is efficient. All work on cylinders prior to process will be in a single-storey building quite separate to the main process block. There will be no moving machinery in the process block, therefore no vibration, and every effort has been made to reduce noise. A new design of cylinder trolley with rubber tyres is envisaged to be moved between departments by electric tugs. From one side of the ground floor of the process block will run a traffic way some 16 ft. wide, which will ultimately go right through the works from end to end.
In the Chrome and Copper shop very careful study has gone into the planning, particularly in the extracting ducts, which are situated in the floor, and which will be so constructed that they can be easily and efficiently cleaned.
The first floor of the Gravure Process block will take the colour and monotone retouchers, the studio and the planning department, and this floor alone almost equals in size that of the present Process Department. Every effort has been made to provide an efficient layout under ideal conditions and to provide in the original buildings against future possible requirements and developments. To quote an example:—
The Sensitizing, Carbon Tissue and Etching Departments will have separate plants, each designed to give full air conditioning to suit the department and the critical nature of the product. The Research Department has put in months of intensive study to determine the relative humidity required and permissible variations. Yet the plant is designed to give only one-fifth of the variation considered acceptable. The remainder of the process block will be air conditioned to accepted comfort requirements, i.e. those of a first-class cinema.
Yet air ducts have been planned which will be adequate to undertake full air conditioning, with critical variations if at a later date such is considered desirable at any part of the process block. Close detailed attention will be given to special unit ventilation of dark rooms and to lighting each department, but this latter cannot be finalized until the details of plant, layout and size of each department are determined. The advice of top-line experts will be taken, their recommendations tested, and the experience of staff and management taken on this important matter.
Between the new process block and the magazine rotary press room (designed ultimately to take eight 77-in. machines of 13 or 16 units each) will be the Proofing Department under the control of the Machine Room Manager. This will be on the main traffic way and therefore readily accessible both to the Process and Machine Departments, and will occupy some of the space now used by process. In this area will also be a department which we will call the Gravure Machine Service Department, with rubber roller grinding machines and store, with the Doctor Service Department and Engineering Shop. We are also considering the problem of modernizing the supply of ink and spirit.
The conditions in the gravure room will be really first-class. It is known that the spirits we use are as near harmless as scientific chemical knowledge can make them, yet the new department, standing 28 ft. to eaves, provides some 750,000 cu. ft. of air with adequate air changes. In addition, although all plant in this area will have enclosed ducts, a completely new recovery plant is planned which will probably be situated on the other side of the railway, behind the paper store and, therefore, with a very short travel for trunking and services.
The exact shape and size of the Warehouse have not been decided. It is intended that it will occupy its present site, plus the spaces occupied by the Koenig & Bauer, the Vomag room and basement. It will be served by two traffic ways; the main one described above will carry the product of the Magazine Rotary Department. Another, which will come direct from the Jobbing Rotary Department through what is now the dispatch, will carry the jobbing rotary and the letterpress production. The present main Warehouse will probably be a marshalling or stacking area for work prior to warehousing. It is considered that the volume of work produced by the Gravure Machine Department, when supplemented by the Goss presses and with the present plant modernized, will be from 50 to 70 per cent greater than at the moment. It will obviously be necessary to provide much greater mechanization in the Warehouse to handle this quantity of work, and the advice of qualified paper converting engineers is being obtained concerning this. Therefore, the final plan cannot be given, but we can say that the new Warehouse will be designed to give greater efficiency and that attention will be given to ensure comfortable and healthy working conditions with the minimum of physical strain. The Warehouse conversion will of necessity be the last to be completed, as the Vomag machines must first be dismantled and moved into their new positions. This cannot be done until at least one and probably two Goss 13- and 16-unit presses are installed, and these cannot be installed until the first two sections of the Magazine Rotary Machine Room are complete.
The directors are planning that the modernization of the Warehouse will be as complete and as efficient as the present arrangements for handling white paper and as different as today’s methods are from those in use before the new paper store was built.
Referring to the paper store, it is evident that the extra production mentioned above will require a comparable increase in the area required for paper storage, and it is expected that excavation for an extension to the present paper store will be an early consideration.
The staff will readily appreciate what a tremendous undertaking this is and the Directors would not have made this venture unless the need was urgent and they had great confidence in the future of the business. There will be a period when employees and management will suffer frustration and discomfort by the inevitable upheaval created by modernizing an existing factory while maintaining full production. Yet the future of the business and the welfare of the staff demand that the effort be made, and that management and employees face this great project, determined that the Company’s reputation for quality and service does not suffer during the transition period. The final result will be a factory of which we can all be proud, and which will combine great efficiency with conditions of pleasant and healthy employment.
Finally, I would express the Directors’ appreciation of the interest shown in this matter by the chapels concerned, and of the very useful contributions made by them. This booklet, designed to make known to everyone the extent and purpose of our operations, was inspired from the floor of our factory and has been largely the work of one or two enthusiasts. The Directors wish to thank those concerned, and to say that if the same co-operation and interest are continued through the next two or three difficult years, the success of this venture is assured. C.R.G. [Cyril R. Greenhill]
We have shown you, through plan and story, a new modern industrial establishment, which when completed will provide you with good “working conditions.”
When we talk of good working conditions we mean specifically, steady work, cheerful work- rooms, management-employee joint consultation, co-operation, pension schemes, first-aid facilities, a sport and recreation club, etc.
During the transitionary period of reconstruction, many of these things may seem far away and conditions at times will be far from desirable. However, if we are to win through, it will only be with your help and co-operation that we shall do so.
It has long been the Englishman’s inherent right to grumble; continue to do this by all means. All we ask is that you take into consideration that this is a gigantic project; we are giving you a new factory for an old one and at the same time having to maintain full production on our existing plant. We know we can win through, for we can count on your help in keeping the “Sun” on top, so far as the printing world is concerned.
To say that “tall oaks from little acorns grow” is putting it mildly when comparing “Sun” organization of today with that very small beginning made not many years ago by a small group of men, but “Sun” is still growing, and we are confident that the future will see us The Leading Printing House in the World.
Meanwhile, let us remember that “Sun” is always on display, for we are constantly having visitors. Please keep all the facilities here, washrooms, workshop, etc., as clean as you do at home. Containers are provided for waste-paper and other rubbish. Please use them.
Visitors have a way of sizing us up by our housekeeping; besides, it is a matter of pride to work in a clean environment. We have erred in the past; let us prepare to make a clean start from now on. L.S.D. [Les S. Dixon]
WATCH IMPRESSIONS [inside back cover]
>From time to time it may be necessary to make alterations to our plans. In order that you may be brought up to date with this and the progress of our project, we shall give progress reports on “Operation Sunrise” in future issues of IMPRESSIONS.